Pre-Thanksgiving severe storms may threaten central, southern US
Severe thunderstorms will erupt across the southern Plains, while winterlike conditions unfold farther north.
Thunderstorms could become strong enough to cause damage, power interruptions and interfere with holiday travel from northern Texas to the southern parts of Illinois and Indiana and western portions of Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama through Wednesday.
In fact, damage was caused in the Dallas area on Tuesday night, as a line of tornado-warned storms barreled through the area.
The weather system behind the feisty thunderstorms is the same storm set to produce heavy snow in the Colorado Rockies and a broad area of light to moderate snow over the Upper Midwest on Tuesday.
A major outbreak of severe weather is not predicted. However, some of the storms are expected to bring winds strong enough to knock down trees, trigger power outages and cause turbulence for airline passengers. Brief, torrential downpours associated with some of the storms can create hazards for motorists ranging from excess water on the roads to sudden poor visibility.
A small number of the strongest storms will have the potential to produce large hail and perhaps even spawn a couple of tornadoes.
Thunderstorms first erupted in the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma on Tuesday afternoon, advancing eastward into Tuesday night. Storms in these areas mainly produced hailstones ranging from the size of quarters to golf balls and wind gusts up to 65 mph.
The severe weather threat, including the tornado potential, will remain active during Tuesday night as storms push into northwestern Louisiana, central Arkansas and southwestern Missouri.
"On Wednesday, the storms are forecast to progress eastward across the Mississippi River and reach portions of southern Illinois, southern Indiana, western and middle Tennessee, western and central Kentucky, central and northern Mississippi and northwestern Alabama," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.
By Wednesday, the storms, perhaps in the form of torrential downpours with strong winds are likely to become organized into a solid line that will progress from west to east at a steady pace. Strong to severe storms may roll through cities such as Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Huntsville, Alabama; and Paducah, Kentucky, during Wednesday.
Downpours with thunder and lightning can extend all the way to the north as central Indiana and much of Ohio on Wednesday.
Potent storm systems during the autumn can spawn severe thunderstorms. In fact, the fall is considered a secondary peak time for severe weather across parts of the South. This is due to a stark temperature contrast from north to south or west to east, depending on the weather pattern, and the usual presence of a strong jet stream overhead.
There is a chance that another round of severe weather will erupt from Sunday to Monday. However, the severe weather potential is highly dependent on the development of a strong storm system, which may take a path from the southern Plains to the Great Lakes.
Such a scenario could bring violent thunderstorm winds, including the risk of tornadoes, from the South Central states to parts of the Midwest and East. But, if a much weaker storm forms or if no storm system develops at all, no severe weather would occur. Instead, a simple transition to cooler or colder conditions would likely occur.
Regardless of whether or not a a severe weather outbreak occurs by early next week, a round of drenching rain is forecast to evolve along the Gulf Coast from Friday to Saturday. Enough rain is projected to pour down to slow travel and hinder outdoor activities as well as raise the risk of flooding from coastal Texas to Georgia and northern Florida.
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